Weekly Devotion – Exodus 4:18

Published 11:24 am Thursday, April 13, 2023

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By Mike Caton

Exodus 4:18, “Then Moses went back to Jethro his father-in-law and said to him, ‘Let me return to my own people in Egypt to see if any of them are still alive.’ Jethro said, ‘Go, and I wish you well.’”

Moses’ request to his father-in-law doesn’t seem all that unusual. But there are a couple of odd things when you think about it. Moses had left Egypt because he was wanted for murder, going back wouldn’t seem like a good idea. Moses’ people were also slaves, it is not like there would be much time to visit them. And as a Hebrew, though he was raised as an Egyptian, Moses might even be taken and forced into slavery himself. But it would be natural for him to want to go home and check on his family.

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Jethro blesses Moses and sends him on his way. What else could he do? No doubt Jethro would want to keep Moses around, he was his son-in-law after all. And Moses had been taking care of the sheep, so someone else would have to take that job as well. Jethro, being a good man and relative, would want Moses to be happy so he sends him with his blessing.

I wonder why Moses doesn’t reveal the real reason for his trip. Is Moses still reluctant to go? Maybe he is hoping God would change his mind and let him off the hook. Maybe Moses is afraid to go; afraid of the reaction of the Egyptians, afraid he might fail, afraid of what Jethro might say. It is not like God has ever spoken to Moses before, not like there has been another burning bush like this one, Jethro might be concerned for his daughter and grandchildren if Moses leaves. So, it seems Moses is less than truthful, for whatever reason.

How open and honest towards the people around us – family, friends, coworkers and so forth – are we about the relationship we have with God? And maybe like Moses, we might be afraid to tell the complete truth. What if others make fun of us or reject us? What if we fail in our lives, and cast a bad light on God and ourselves? What will others think or say? But we need to be truthful, even when we fail, and we need to own up to our shortcomings. Our honesty will be refreshing and clear to others, and when they see us fail, confess, and repent, it might be an encouragement to them.

Father, help me share my life and faith with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Mike Caton is the preacher at Mount Olive Church of Christ in Belhaven. He volunteers at the Ponzer Fire Department and works full time with Hyde County EMS. If you would like to receive daily devotions in your inbox, email mikecaton@centurylink.net.